The cost of medical care and people's health-seeking behaviour before being suspected of tuberculosis in three local health systems, Nicaragua
METHODS: Directed interviews of consecutive series of tuberculosis (TB) suspects whose sputum had been examined for AFB.
RESULTS: Of 252 TB suspects interviewed, 52% used more than one type of care giver and 35% used private practitioners. As a consequence, 18%, 21% and 29% of the interviewees in Carazo, El Viejo and Matagalpa, respectively, spent more than 1 month of the country's median income per inhabitant on medical care between the first visit to a care provider and the first sputum examination. Furthermore, more than 3 months elapsed on that part of the care pathway for 30%, 17% and 3% of interviewees in Matagalpa, El Viejo and Carazo, respectively.
CONCLUSION: This study sheds light on the costs and delays incurred by TB suspects before reaching a laboratory for sputum smear examination. Both costs are lower for those suspects who exclusively use first-line governmental health services (FLGHS). This has been relatively little documented in Latin America to date and could be used as an argument to develop strategies to strengthen the credibility of FLGHS.
Document Type: Regular Paper
Publication date: 2004-11-01
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